Key Legal Issues in a 2015 Climate Agreement

In fashioning the new international climate change agreement to be adopted later this year in Paris, parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)1 must address a range of legal issues. This brief outlines some of the key issues and concludes that: The Paris outcome arguably must include a core legal agreement constituting a treaty under international law; the exact title of the core agreement is legally irrelevant; the agreement can contain both binding and non-binding elements; the legal nature of parties’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs) is independent of where they are housed; and consistency with the UNFCCC does not require that the agreement adopt the same structure.